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White House: New Obama budget not a 'starting point' for GOP talks

President Barack Obama will stick to his forthcoming budget on Wednesday, and does not regard it as a "starting point" for negotiations with Republicans toward a fiscal deal.

The administration's 2014 budget — which Obama will introduce at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday — seeks an additional $1.8 trillion in savings through a combination of new revenues, entitlement reforms and targeted cuts to discretionary spending. The budget contains spending adding up to $3.77 trillion.

And while GOP lawmakers have expressed skepticism toward Obama's new budget, particularly for its inclusion of new taxes, the White House argued Tuesday in previewing the announcement that Republicans shouldn't be so dismissive.

"We don't view this budget as a starting point in the negotiations," one senior administration official said on a conference call previewing the budget. "This is an offer where the president came more than halfway."

“The question is, are Republicans willing to come to us?” the official asked, saying that the administration would be "sticking" to its position.

"If they refuse to include revenues in any deal, then there will be no deal. it's that simple."

Obama offered a change in how Social Security benefits increase over time (so-called "chained CPI") in hopes of drawing Republicans into begrudging agreement on proposals to raise new revenue. Among those revenue-raising provisions were:

  • Enacting the so-called "Buffett Rule," which would require households making over $1 million to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes
  • Limiting tax deductions to up to 28 percent of income for the top 2 percent of earners in the United States
  • Expanding a tax credit for middle-class families to pay for child care
  • Funding universal preschool, something Obama called for in his State of the Union address, through an increase in the federal tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products
  • Establishing of a National Infrastructure Bank, which in April 2013 Obama said could raise $10 billion, with each federal dollar leveraging up to $20 in total investment 
  • Paying for the launch of 15 “manufacturing innovation institutes,” whose $1 billion price tag was first floated during the State of the Union 

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